Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

On August 23, 1994 President Clinton signed S. J. RES 140. With his signature, S. J. RES 140 became Public Law 103-308 which designates December 7 of each year as “National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day”.

At 7:55 a.m. on December 7, 1941, the Japanese began their attack on Pearl Harbor. They attacked military airfields on the island and, at the same time, the Navy fleet anchored in the harbor, hoping to destroy American planes before they could take to the air in defense of the military ships and installations. The attack ended shortly before 10:00 a.m. but the damage was severe. American losses totaled 2,403, including 68 civilians along with 1,179 military and civilian wounded. Additionally, 21 ships in the Pacific Fleet were sunk or damaged along with 188 aircraft destroyed and 159 damaged. On December 8, President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan and he famously said, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

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Founded in 1958, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, is an organization whose members were at or near Pearl Harbor during the December 7th attack. The association had approximately 28,000 members when it was founded. On October 7, 1985, President Reagan signed a bill to grant a Federal charter to the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association – Public Law 99-119. Under the current U. S. Code, the charter is Title 36, Subtitle II, Part B, Chapter 1703. The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association disbanded on December 31, 2011.

On November 10, 1966, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association started a local chapter in Victoria, TX. The Victoria Chapter was the first to be formed in the state of Texas. The original charter is pictured above and is framed and hangs in the Victoria Regional History Center. The text reads:

To:  Dewey D. Armstrong, William B. Brown, Joseph P. Chilcoat, John J. Crawford, William H. Eckel,  James K. Evans, Carl F. Heiling, Donald D. Johnson, Gary C. Lindsay, Walter W. Loyd, Oscar H. Sauer, Rev. Marcus A. Valenta, Raymond G. Wiese

and to their successors legally qualified to institute a Local Chapter to be known as Victoria Chapter No. 1 in the City of Victoria, State of Texas.

This Charter is granted the above named persons for the purpose of creating an Organization of Pearl Harbor Survivors and for establishing a more perfect unity of those Pearl Harbor survivors who are legally qualified to make membership in the Organization.

The Victoria Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association still exists, with one Pearl Harbor survivor still living. The children of survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack have formed an organization called Sons and Daughters of the Pearl Harbor Survivors to carry on the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association’s mission and to remind everyone of what they see as the first terrorist attack on America.

The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association is holding its 71st Annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Luncheon on Friday, December 7th at 11:00 AM at The Corral (3502 Houston Hwy, Victoria, TX). The luncheon is open to the public.

Sources:

Fact Sheet: Pearl Harbor. http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/teach/pearl/aftermath/facts.htm

Overview of The Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941. http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq66-1.htm

FDR’s “Day of Infamy” Speech: Crafting a Call to Arms. http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2001/winter/crafting-day-of-infamy-speech.html

Frankly Delano Roosevelt Day of Infamy Speech. http://archive.org/details/FranklinDelanoRooseveltDayOfInfamySpeech

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